Fintech startup Thunes, which operates a global B2B cross-border payments network, and powers PayPal Mobile Money Service with M-PESA has raised $60 million Series B funding round led by Africa-focused Helios Investment Partners.
According to Peter De Caluwe, CEO of Thunes, “This marks a significant milestone in our next phase of growth as we strive towards helping financial institutions and businesses around the world move money between each other in a faster, more economical and reliable way. Our goal is to make financial services affordable and accessible to everyone.”
Additional investors include Checkout.com as well as existing investors GGV Capital and Future Shape.
Launched in 2016, Thunes’ global network connects mobile wallet providers, banks, technology companies and money transfer operators, enabling seamless cross-border payments to and from emerging economies in a fast and secure manner. At the moment, the firm says it has different payment players in more than 100 countries, allowing them to tap into the largest partner network in emerging markets.
Last month, Thunes partnered with MoneyGram, a cross-border P2P payments and money transfer firm to enable MoneyGram’s customers to send money directly to mobile wallets and bank accounts globally through the MoneyGram platform.
The global partnership is expected to see additional payment services progressively rolled out in two phases. The first will be in Africa where countries such as Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda lead the continent in mobile wallet usage, while the second will focus on the Asia Pacific region and Latin America.
“This partnership marks an important milestone for us. Through this tie-up, Thunes can connect MoneyGram to over 30 markets in Africa, enabling us to significantly expand our reach into the region,” said John Gely, Head of MoneyGram Africa. “We are continuously investing in key markets and accelerating digital growth through the integration of mobile wallets and banks, and we believe our partnership with Thunes will further support our strong expansion.”
TransferTo had two businesses, a cross-border mobile top-ups and payment solutions network. The rebrand saw it launch two separate company brands, logos and identities, DT One and Thunes. DT One aims at bolstering its global network for mobile top-up solutions and innovative mobile rewards. Last year, DT One acquired Kenya’s MoDe for an undisclosed amount.
The cross-border payments business, which started in 2016, now operates independently from DT One and was renamed to Thunes. Thunes will focus its efforts on providing better interoperability between diverse payment systems and supplying smarter payment solutions for emerging economies. Since inception, this startup has also delivered exponential growth, and in 2018, saw nearly 900% growth in revenue and processed over $2 billion worth of transactions.
“The decision to rebrand TransferTo and separate the cross-border payments business enables both companies to accelerate growth by independently delivering more targeted solutions to customers and partners,” said DT One CEO and Thunes Executive Chairman, Peter De Caluwe.
“The industry is continually evolving and we see this change as an important next step to better position ourselves to capitalise on the growth opportunities in this rapidly changing market.”
The latest round of funding will drive the continued development of Thunes’ global network and accelerate its expansion and growth in Africa, Asia and Latin America. The capital raised will be deployed to expand its team and product offering, including business payments and collections from emerging markets.
These regions represent Thunes’ largest growth opportunity, where fragmented and complex payment ecosystems often leave consumers and businesses struggling with slow, costly and unreliable ways of moving money.
De Caluwe added, “The projected size of emerging markets cross-border payments is around $45 trillion. We will continue to invest and deliver additional value to the global payments ecosystem and capitalise on this explosive growth. We expect transaction volumes on our platform to double annually, through the expansion of our network. For the five billion people and businesses in the growing emerging market economies, we enable cross-border payments seamlessly, faster, and at more competitive rates.”
Tope Lawani, Co-founder & Managing Partner of Helios Investment Partners, commented: “The African fintech space, and payments in particular, remains a key focus area for Helios and we continue to look for opportunities to back high-growth companies building key infrastructure for the financial ecosystem in Africa. Thunes is a great example of a firm leading this. The unique network built by the company enables its partners to process cheaper and faster cross-border payments of all types. We are delighted to be supporting Thunes in their plans to connect multiple payment ecosystems across often challenging markets in Africa and other emerging markets and thus, foster further financial inclusion.”
Guillaume Pousaz, CEO & Founder of Checkout.com, noted: “We’re pleased to support Thunes with this investment, which marks our third transaction of 2020. As a leading, profitable payment provider, Checkout.com has the opportunity to support entrepreneurs who strive towards our vision of connected finance. Thunes closely aligns to this, with a mission to build the rails which facilitates greater payment options in the emerging markets, and unite leading financial institutions on one platform. We have followed Thunes’ growth and recognise the company as a pioneer in cross-border payment solutions. We look forward to working closely with them.”
In May 2019, Thunes successfully closed a US$10 million Series A financing led by GGV Capital. Thunes’ Series B funding takes the company’s total funds raised to US$70 million.